Girvan 1994 (Carn Mor) Review

“The Grain, the Park and Other Things”

Whisky Review # 868

Country: Scotland
Region: Lowlands
Brand: Girvan 1994 - Distilled on October 18, 1994
Bottled by: Morrison & MacKay (MMcK) on January 18, 2016 - 178 Bottles
Series: Carn Mor (Celebration of the Cask)
Type: Single Grain Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # 137176
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49.3% - Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Barrel
Chill Filtration: No
Price: Around US$ 150 (April 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😑A 21-old Whisky can't be cheap of course
Buying Advice: 👎It's quite simple and not worth this kind of money


Pale Gold  (Natural Colour)


Be sure to give this Girvan enough time in the glass before Nosing in order to get rid of the first heavy Alcohol fumes. Having done just that I must confess that there still isn't a whole lot going on in this department. It's mainly Sweet with clear Bourbon cask characteristics. There are no real off-notes except for a little Varnish but I can't get very excited about this simple nose to be honest.

Main Aromas:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Grass, Resin, Grain Alcohol, Milk Chocolate, Orchard Fruit like Apples, Pears and Green Plums, Orange, Cinnamon, Pepper & Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Toffee, Charred Oak, Bourbon, Varnish, Plastic, Syrup, Banana Ice-Cream, Lemon, Nectarine, Fresh - & Dried Herbs and Polished Upholstery.


A bit Thin for a 21 Year-Old Whisky. The cask can't have been a very active one. The Palate is a little Edgy and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Again, there's nothing too exciting going on.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Banana Ice-Cream, Green Apple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Syrup, Bounty Candy Bars, Charred Oak, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Polished Upholstery, Varnish, Bourbon, Sultanas, Fresh & Dried Herbs and Licorice.


Middle-Long, Creamy, Oily and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Vanilla, Toffee and Caramel, Charred Oak, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Fresh and Dried Herbs, Banana Ice-Cream, Bounty-Bars, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol, Green Apple and Varnish.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Girvan. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 80

Nose: 20 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay


Girvan Distillery was founded in Girvan (South Ayrshire) in 1963. It is owned by William Grant & Sons. Most of the production is used in the William Grant Blends like Grant's and Clan MacGregor. The Grain Whisky is produced with 91.5% Wheat and 8.5% Malted Barley. The distillery has six Column stills with a total annual capacity of 115 million litres. The distillery also produces Hendrick's Gin.

It's generally accepted that 65 to 70% of the Flavours of any Whisky are formed by the contact of the Spirit with the Cask during maturation. I would guess that this percentage is even higher for Grain Whisky. That's why many Single Grain Whiskies go the market with over 20 Years of Cask time. The Girvan I'm tasting today matured for 21 years and it could have matured more if you ask me. But you need active casks as well and # 137176 is a bit of a disappointment in this respect. I must admit that Single Grain is not really my thing in general but that won't stop me from trying again in the near future!


Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 13 ,2020

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